UK commits £25m funding for 5G testbeds

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock wants companies to propose new 5G projects, with grants of up to £5m each available

The UK government has announced a £25 million competition to develop ideas around 5G technologies.

The department for culture, media and sport has unveiled the “5G Testbeds and Trials” competition, which is part of its £740 million National Productivity Investment Fund which aims to support next generation infrastructure and technologies.

Mobile’s contribution to the global economy will be $3.9 trillion by 2020 according to analysis by the GSMA. Based on GSMA’s analysis, the impact of mobile on UK GDP will be £112 billion in 2020, rising to somewhere between £164–198 billion per annum by 2030.

The government is inviting interested companies from around the UK to propose new 5G projects, with match funded grants worth up to £5 million available for each successful application.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “To stay competitive we must be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.

“It’s all part of our determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and deliver for all citizens now and in the years to come.”

Successful applications in phase 1 will receive funding from April 2018 and will last 12 months, with the aim o the competition to support a “5G ecosystem” in the UK. Future phases are likely to include additional funds, though DCMS did not reveal details of when this will be.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP said: “Improving productivity requires targeted and sustained investment, which is why we are backing the UK’s digital infrastructure with over a billion pounds of government funding. Whether we are doing business online or the weekly grocery shop online, strong and reliable connections are crucial to this.
“Today’s announcement is a big step forward in bringing 5G to the UK and ensuring our digital infrastructure is fit for the future.”